2 Benefits Of Wedding Planning Immediately After You Get Engaged!

Photography: London Light Photography

“When should I start wedding planning?” 

We get asked this question all the time and stand by the answer that it is NEVER too soon to start planning once you get engaged. We recently shared why you should avoid procrastinating for the big day. Now it’s time to take on the advantages of getting a head start in planning.

Check out 2 huge benefits below:

 To Save Money: 

It’s never too soon to start saving money towards wedding related expenses. Many of our followers expressed that they began saving money for their wedding prior to their engagement because they knew that it was coming.  On average, expect to set aside at least 20% of your income towards wedding expenses.

A huge benefit of saving money for your wedding immediately after your engagement is that you will have money ready for vendor deposits that are required to book. Remember that wedding-related expenses will be required throughout your journey, not at the end.  The sooner you start saving, the more you have set aside for deposits to book vendors. Resources will be required at the start of your journey to book key vendors, such as your venue space and photographer. Start saving immediately after your engagement to ensure you have money available to secure your vendors with deposits.  

For Vendor Availability:

It’s not uncommon for top vendors calendars to have dates on the books months, even a year or more in advance.  Some vendors also only take a specific number of bookings a year. For instance, your dream photographer may only take 7 weddings a year. Begin reaching out to vendors immediately after you get engaged to get a feel for available calendar dates for potential vendors.

Wedding Day Timeline Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make!

 

Photography: CMP Denver

When it comes to your day of timeline, avoid making the following 3 mistakes!

Not Consulting With Vendors:
 
When creating your wedding day timeline,  loop in each of your vendors to utilize their advice. The beauty of working with experienced vendors is access to their expertise to weigh in and even guide your plans.  Vendors are incredibly valuable resources to help orchestrate your day of timeline.  They can review key details, such as their arrival and clean up times, to ensure they are scheduled for the appropriate time needed. Be sure to also stay in communication with your vendors if you make changes to your timeline  so they are not faced with last minute surprises on the day of. 
 
Not Setting Up In Advance:
 
Depending on your venue space, you may have the option to set up for your wedding day in advance. Many venue spaces will allow you to set up the day before your wedding. Setting up in advance may not be possible if your venue space will host another wedding or event prior to your wedding. If unable to set up early, ask if you can leave decor or items at the venue space in advance to save from having to transport the day of. This will be incredibly helpful if supplying your own decor or accessories for the ceremony or reception. An additional advantage to setting up in advance is that you can ensure that items are properly placed.  We recommend that you avoid setting up items that may get damaged or wilt in advance, such as flowers. Opt for setting up areas such as the escort card table, guest book table, and even signage if your venue spaces allows.  
 

Not Creating A Day Of Timeline:

The biggest mistake to avoid is NOT making a day of timeline for your day.  The key to avoiding unexpected fees due to exceeding your vendors booked time is to carefully plan your wedding day schedule.

Spend time creating a day of schedule that takes into consideration:

  • The time your wedding party should spend getting ready
  • The time that the bride and groom should spend getting ready
  • The time that the entire wedding party should be ready to leave for the ceremony
  • The time any pre-wedding captures with the photographer should begin
  • The time that all vendors should arrive for set-up
  • The time the ceremony should begin
  • The time of your receiving line
  • The time for cocktail hour
  • The time for post-wedding portraits with the groom and wedding party
  • The time for reception activities such as the first dance, cake cutting, toasts and garter toss 
  • The time that vendors should arrive for clean up
 
 

Help! I Just Got Engaged And Don’t Know Where To Begin!

During our Wediquette Wednesday Q&A feature, we are always asked where to begin planning after getting engaged. With hundreds of decisions to make during the planning journey, we understand how overwhelming it can be to know where to begin.  

Check out our roundup of the 13 things that every bride should consider after getting engaged below!

  • Consider your wedding vision

We recommend that you make this your first step after getting engaged so that you spend time imagining your wedding vision, free from outside influence. This will be an amazing way to infuse personalized touches to your day that truly speak to you! Be sure to discuss with your fiancé to share ideas.

  • Consider your wedding budget

Your budget will not only determine how much you can afford for your dream day, but also your engagement length. If on a budget, stretching out your engagement will allow additional time to save up funds for your big day! 

  • Consider possible wedding dates

We recommend that consider not only wedding dates but your ideal wedding seasons. Imagine the time of year that you would like your day to take place, such as you if you ideally would love your wedding to take place during the summer or if you would prefer a winter wedding. Considering the season will not only help make decisions towards your wedding theme, but will also come in handy as you contact venues. You may find more availability if you are open to dates in a given season, opposed to one particular date.

  • Consider the wedding city

Decide if you will stay local or even have a destination wedding. If  your finance is from a different location, spend time comparing costs between locations to help narrow down the best fit for your budget!

 

  • Consider your wedding guest list

Decide if you plan to keep things intimate with a small wedding, or expect to have a larger wedding. Be sure to consider a ballpark number of guests, such as keeping your guest list under 100 guests or between 220-250 guests.

  • Consider the wedding venue

Consider the best style wedding venue for your day. Compare the pros and cons of venue space types, such as the amenities and cost to host your day in various venue types. You may decide that a banquet hall is the best fit or that a beach wedding is the perfect fit. 

  • Consider your wedding party members

Consider the wedding party members, from the bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, ring bearers and even ushers.  A good rule of thumb is to have at least one wedding party member on each side for every 50 guests. 

  • Consider wedding activities

Your wedding activities include the bridal shower, bachelorette party and engagement party. After getting engaged, consider if you will have an engagement party. We recommend that you host your engagement party within 3 months of your proposal. 

  • Consider your vendors

It’s never too early to begin researching vendors! In fact, we recommend that you begin right away! Many vendors, especially those that are popular and in demand, book months, even a year or more in advance. Begin researching vendors early so that you have plenty of time to research, interview and compare.

  • Consider the gown

Saying yes to the dress may take time, or you may find your dream gown on the first try! The first step is to consider your gown budget, then begin to save inspiration images of gown styles that speak to you. Try to find brides with similar body types to note gown styles that accentuate and flatter!

  • Consider the honeymoon

Decide if a honeymoon will fit into your wedding budget. You may have to dish out funds for honeymoon expenses, such as booking flights and even excursions, while also making purchases towards your wedding. We recommend that you consider if you can afford both wedding expenses and a honeymoon. The good news is that many couples are opting to have their honeymoon a few months after the big day, and even their 1 year anniversary, to allow time to save!   

  • Consider wedding decor

Once you have locked in your venue space, begin to save decor inspiration images for your ceremony and reception.  We recommend that you wait until you book your venue space so that your decor fits your venue space.

  • Consider the little details

There are countless little details to consider, from creating the menu to selecting flower girl baskets, that can feel never ending! We recommend that you avoid trying to take on all the little details alone. After getting engaged, consider who can lend a hand to avoid the stress of trying to do it all!

 

For over 100 more tips that every bride must know while planning their big day, get your copy of our e-book today by clicking the link below!

Use These Easy Formulas To Manage Your Wedding Guest List Like A Pro!

Photography: Colin Cowie 

While having guests take part in your day is an honor, deciding who to invite can be an absolute pain! The good news is that there is a simple method to work your guest list like a pro! Check out the following formulas to apply to your guest list:

If The Couple Is Funding Their Wedding:

It is up to you how and if you will distribute guests to parents if you are 100% funding your wedding expenses. If you plan to distribute guests to parents, consider a 75/25 formula where 75% of the guest list is reserved for the couple and 25% is given to to parents.  Each set of parents will then split the 25% down the middle.  

If One Set Of Parents Are Funding The Wedding:

If one set of parents will fully fund the day, it is up to them how they will distribute wedding guests.  They may exercise the the 75/25 formula where 75% of the guest list is reserved for the parents fully funding the wedding and the remaining 25% is split between the couple and other set of parents.

The parents fully funding may also use a more flexible percentage, such as splitting the guests list 50/50 where 50% goes to the parents funding the day and the remaining 50% is split between the couple and other set of parents. 

Parents fully funding can also go with the traditional split formula, which is allowing the couple to keep 50% of the guest list and the remaining 50% is split between each set of parents.

If Both Sets Of Parents Are Funding The Wedding: 

If both sets of parents are funding the wedding, it will also be up to them how they intend to distribute the wedding guest list. They may decide to use the 75/25 formula where 75% of the guest list is split evenly between both sets of parents and the remaining 25% is given to the couple.

They may also use a more generous formula by sticking with tradition and splitting the guests list 50/50 where 50% is split evenly by both sets of parents and the remaining 50% is given to the couple.

If One Set Of Parents And The Couple Are Funding The Wedding:

If one set of parents and the couple are funding the wedding, it is their choice how and if they will extend invites to the set of parents that are not contributing. We recommend that you consider extending guests as the set of parents that is not financially contributing simply may not have the resources to do so, or may still contribute in ways that are not financial. 

Consider a formula such as 80/20, where 80% is split between the parents funding the wedding and couple with the remaining 20% extended to the parents that are not financially contributing. 

If Both Sets Of Parents And The Couple Are Funding The Wedding:

If both sets of parents are contributing as well as the couple, consider the traditional formula of splitting the guests list 50/50. This allows 50% of the guest list to the couple and the remaining 50% is split evenly between both sets of parents. 

If There Are Special Circumstances:

Divorced Parents:

For divorced parents, follow the 50/50 formula where the bride and groom take 50% and both sets of parents take 50%. From there, split the 25% down the middle where divorced parents receive an equal share.  For example, if the grooms parents are divorced, give each of the grooms parent 12% from the 25% given to the grooms parents. 

Parents Exceeded Their Allocated Percent:

If parents exceed their allocated percent, consider asking if they can chip in to cover additional guests. You can also add  additional guests once RSVP requests are received by adding additional guest in place of guests that have declined.  

Other Family Contribute:

If other family members are contributing,  consider allowing a specific number to each contributor, such as 1-2 guests each.  If allowing guests would put you over your guest count, let them know that you would like to follow up with them once guest RSVP responses come back to ensure that you replace declines opposed to adding to your guest count.

Getting Started Series – Recap

We’ve made it through our first of many wedding planning series! Whoohoo! 

Our first series, “Getting Started” took on everything you need to know once you are engaged. From wedding terms you need to know to secret tips to consider before setting your wedding date, we hope that you feel equipped to take on your wedding planning tasks like a pro!

The good news is that we are just getting started! Our next series will take on the all important topic of the budget.

In the meantime, take a look back at our full Getting Started Series and share below future topics that you would like to see in the comments! 

14 Planning Decisions Every Bride Will Consider

Sound Like A Pro: Wedding Terms You Need To Know

The Most Important Thing To Consider Before Setting Your Wedding Date 

How To Set Aside Time To Plan Your Wedding With Ease

How To Bring Your Wedding To Life

How To Choose Your Wedding Party

Secrets To Trim Hundreds From Your Wedding Budget – Guaranteed!

20 Biggest Regrets Every Bride Wants You To Know!

5 Expensive Mistakes To Avoid That Every Bride Needs To Know!

Who Pays For the Wedding Anyways?

6 Secrets To Strategically Setting Your Wedding Date That Nobody Tells You

Get The Answer To The #1 Way To Avoid Exceeding Your Wedding Budget

The #1 Way To Avoid Exceeding Your Wedding Day Budget

The Engagement Party: The Who, What, When, Where And Why

Help! I Just Got Engaged And Don’t Know Where To Begin

To close out our series, enjoy a special 20% coupon code on our 130 page e-book, Getting Started: The Ultimate Planning Guide! Use coupon code thanks20 at checkout to enjoy 20% off your order! Click the link to shop now.

Getting Started Series: 6 Secrets To Strategically Setting Your Wedding Date The No One Tells You!

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One of the first decisions that you will make during your planning journey is selecting your wedding date.  You may be considering a date that has sentimental value such as an anniversary or first dates.  While it’s fun to select a date with personal meaning, this could also run the risk of costing you! 

Before you book your wedding date,  consider these 6 super savvy tips to save a bundle on your big day:

  • Book Your Venue First!

Start by selecting your venue before all other vendors. While you can provide your vendors such as the photographer and DJ with wedding dates that you have in mind, you will need to know an exact date to ensure that all vendors are available on the same date. This will avoid the stress of locking in vendors only to find that they are not available on your actual locked in wedding date. Start with your venue as your venue space will not only determine your wedding date but even wedding theme, remaining budget and style.  

  • Always Ask About Peak Seasons

Sound like you’re an in-the-know bride by tossing around questions such as “When is your peak season”? This is a well-known term used by the pros and a HUGE cost saving question to ask before booking! Peak seasons are the time-frames that a vendor or venue may charge higher fees than during their “off season” periods. For most cities, peak season begins in November and ends in March.  Be sure to ask each vendor when their peak season is or if there are times of the year where their prices are lower than usually.  Compare the price between booking during peak and off seasons before you book to consider potential savings available.

  • Caution Over Holidays!

If you go with a popular date such as a holiday, call around first to check the overall availability of top vendor choices to ensure they are not on break or limited in availability. You don’t want to get your heart set on a holiday date only to find vendors and even venues are limited in availability or on vacation. Also, compare their prices to see if they are more expensive due to the holiday. Some venues and even vendors such as caterers may have to charge extra to pay their employees to work on the holiday. Be sure to ask in advance to avoid surprise fees or higher rates.

  • Consider A Week Day

The most popular day to wed will always be Saturday, but more brides are opting for non-traditional days like Sunday, Thursday, and Fridays. One of the biggest perks to booking non-traditional days is that there are often more dates available on the calendar to choose from. Saturday’s can be booked up to a year in advanced at many venues while non-traditional dates such as weekdays, Friday’s or even Sunday’s may be in the clear any month you select!  Also, many venues offer discounted rates for weekday weddings. Be sure to consult with venues on savings available for booking during the week!

ADDED BONUS:

Your guests traveling from out of town may also find hotel and flight discounts when booking mid week opposed to on weekends, allowing savings for everyone!

  • Never Get Locked Into A Day

You may have a date in mind for your wedding based on sentimental purposes such as a first date, kiss or the day you were engaged. Selecting a date before researching in advance is common but can be a huge, costly mistake. If your selected date falls during a peak period, you may find higher costs due to your preferred date falling during peak season. You may even find that many venues are already booked for your selected date.  While incredibly sentimental to base your preferred date around a sentimental purpose, consider incorporating as a theme or even recreating for your engagement shoot.  You may also list equally important dates for a variety of possible options opposed to considering only one sentimental date.

  • Consider 2-3 Possible Days

Always consider 2-3 potential dates to host your day instead of considering one date. Even better: remain open to an entire month or season for optimal availability.  Be sure to remain open to off-peak seasons for the best rates for your budget!

 

Add over 100 additional recommendations to your list by getting your hands on our e-book, Getting Started: The Ultimate Guide For Wedding Planning! Feel like you are sitting down for with a wedding planner by learning hacks and tips that every bride should consider!

Click the link below to get your copy today!

 

How To Plan Your Wedding In 12 Months!

 

 

 

Yesterday we took on planning your big day within a short, 6 month timeline. Now its time to break down the steps to plan your day during an average engagement length of 12 months! For a comprehensive, step by step breakdown of how to plan in 6 months, 12 months or even 2 years or more, be sure to check out our 130 page e-book, Getting Started: The Ultimate Planning Guide!

 

12 Months: Enjoy and Envision

The first month after your proposal is an exciting time to enjoy your new status and consider your wedding details. Spend time envisioning your dream day and considering key decisions such as when your day may take place and how much you can afford to bring your day to life.

We Recommend That You:

  • Set Aside Time To Plan
  • Determine Your Wedding Vision
  • Consider Potential Wedding Dates
  • Determine How You Will Pay For Your Wedding

11 Months: Get Started

It’s time to begin making moves towards the first of many wedding decisions. Begin by taking on a few crucial tasks at a time.

 

  • Begin Creating Your Guest List & Collecting Contact Information
  • Consider Hiring A Wedding Planner
  • Consider Your Ideal Wedding Venue Style and Begin Researching Venues
  • Consider Your Ideal Wedding Gown Style & Start Researching
  • Discuss & Start Planning Your Engagement Party
  • Research Photographers
  • Research Wedding Websites
  • Determine Wedding Insurance
  • Discuss Wedding Party Members
  • Begin Collecting Wedding Style Inspiration

 

10 Months: Begin Narrowing Top Choices

Start narrowing down top contenders to bring your day to life, from the venue space to the photographer.

We Recommend That You:

  • Book Your Venue
  • Consider Save The Date Stationary
  • Book Engagement Shoot
  • Research Potential Officiant
  • Research The Honeymoon & Research Passports
  • Invite Wedding Party Members
  • Discuss Living Arrangements
  • Create The Wedding Website

 

9 Months: Start Booking

Attempt to secure vendors to ensure that your key players are crossed off the list. Lock in all vendors now if possible to get a head start.

We Recommend That You:

  • Book The Officiant
  • Book Photographer
  • Book Florist
  • Research & Select Hotel For Out of Town Guests
  • Order Save The Date Invitations
  • Start Fitness Plan
  • Determine Decor Needs
  • Start Researching The Wedding Registry

 

8 Months: Continue Crossing Off the List

Continue crossing wedding tasks off the list. Continue your research on upcoming tasks to move towards selecting your final choices.

We Recommend That You:

  • Book The Honeymoon
  • Begin Researching Bridesmaid Style
  • Create The Wedding Registry
  • Narrow Down Top Gown Choices & Say Yes To The Dress

 

7 Months: Cross Final Vendors Off

Now is the time that all vendors should be narrowed down and selected.

We Recommend That You:

  • Consider Rentals
  • Research Stationary
  • Book Hotel For Out of Town Guests
  • Order Save The Dates
  • Book Entertainment
  • Research Hair & Make-Up, Attempt To Secure
  • Research and Select Groom and Groomsmen Attire

 

6 Months: The Half-Way Mark

You’re half-way through the big day and ideally should also have a large chunk of your wedding day tasks crossed off the list. Now is the time to start moving into the details.

We Recommend That You:

  • Meet With Florist
  • Meet With Venue
  • Research & Book Transportation
  • Select Wedding Bands
  • Book Hair & Makeup
  • Research Cake Designs 
  • Start Purchasing Decor
  • Discuss Wedding Activities (Such As The Bridal Shower and Bachelorette Party)
  • Select Bridesmaid Attires
  • Order Invitations

 

5 Months: The Details

Now that all major tasks should be crossed off the list, it’s time to move to the details. 

We Recommend That You:

  • Research & Book Your Rehearsal Venue
  • Receive Invitations
  • Begin Hair & Make-Up Trials
  • Start DIY Trials
  • Select Accessories For The Bride & Groom
  • Select Accessories For The Wedding Party
  • Determine Wedding Party Hair & Make-Up
  • Research Wedding Traditions

 

4 Months: The Countdown Begins

You are now approaching the final months before the big day. It’s time to really roll up your sleeves and cross remaining tasks off the list. 

We Recommend That You:

  • Purchase Bride & Groom Accessories
  • Purchase Wedding Party Accessories
  • Select Wedding Playlist Music
  • Select & Purchase Guest Favors

 

3 Months: Begin Day Of Tasks

As the day of gets closer, get a head start in crossing off essential day of tasks such as drafting your timeline and listing toasts.

We Recommend That You:

  • Research Readings
  • List Toasts
  • Begin Drafting Ceremony & Reception Timeline
  • Select Additional Stationary
  • First Wedding Gown and Tux Fitting
  • First Wedding Party Attire Fitting

 

2 Months: The Final Stretch

You’re down to final weeks before the big day and have important tasks to cross off the list for the big day. Spend time attempting to square away as many tasks as possible to allow the final week before the big day to relax.

We Recommend That You:

  • Create The Day Of Timeline With Vendors
  • Begin Delegating Tasks
  • Begin Creating The Seating Chart
  • Create The Welcome Kit For Out Of Town Guests
  • Have the Bridal Shower

 

1 Month: The Final Weeks

The true countdown is on and you’re almost at your big day. Attempt to have tasks crossed off before the week of the big day to allow time to relax and enjoy!

We Recommend That You:

  • Final Gown Fitting For Bride & Wedding Party
  • Final Fitting For Groom & Groomsmen
  • Begin Beauty Regimen
  • Finalize Day Of Timeline & Send To Vendors and Wedding Party Members
  • Assemble Favors
  • Confirm Rentals
  • Have Bachelor & Bachelorette Party
  • Secure Legal Documents
  • Confirm Hotel For Out of Town Guests
  • Follow Up With Out Of Town Guests
  • Finalize Guest List RSVP’s
  • Finalize Seating Chart
  • Purchase Grooms Gift

For the ultimate guide to plan every step of your wedding like a pro, be sure to grab a copy of our 130 page e-book, Getting Started: The Ultimate Planning Guide!

How To Plan Your Wedding In 6 Months!

 

 

Planning a wedding within a short period can be stressful but is possible! We’ve already taken on the pros and cons of having a short or long engagement length, now its time to break down the steps to plan your day during a short engagement length! For a comprehensive, step by step breakdown, be sure to check out our 130 page e-book, Getting Started: The Ultimate Planning Guide!

 

6 Months Before: Roll Up Your Sleeves And Get Started

Having a short engagement length means getting started shortly after your engagement. You don’t have much time to wait to start planning. We recommend that you spend 1-2 weeks max enjoying your engagement before you start to cross planning tasks off your list. 

We recommend that you:

  • Set Aside Time To Plan
  • Determine Your Wedding Vision
  • Consider Potential Wedding Dates
  • Determine How You Will Pay For Your Wedding
  • Begin Creating Your Guest List
  • Consider Hiring A Wedding Planner
  • Consider Your Ideal Wedding Venue Style and Begin Researching Venues
  • Consider Your Ideal Wedding Gown Style
  • Begin Collecting Wedding Style Inspiration

 

5 Months Before: Start Narrowing Down Top Choices 

With 5 months to go, begin narrowing down top choices to move towards crossing key items off your to do list. Make a point to secure your venue to set your official wedding date. Attempt to research and secure all vendors, from the photographer to your make-up artist to get a head start.

We recommend that you:

  • Book Your Wedding Venue 
  • Book Your Engagement Shoot
  • Research Photographers
  • Create Your Wedding Website
  • Research Wedding Insurance
  • Invite Your Wedding Party Members
  • Research Wedding Party Attire
  • Collect Guests Contact Information
  • Research The Honeymoon & Passports If Needed
  • Research The Florist
  • Research The Officiant
  • Research Entertainment
  • Research The Hotel For Out of Town Guests
  • Discuss Living Arrangements
  • Research Legal Changes (Such As Changing Your Last Name)
  • Create Your Gift Registry
  • Order Stationary
  • Start Fitness Plan

 

4 Months Before: Cross Off The List

With only a few months to go, it will be important to begin crossing off the list to do tasks to move onto the little details.  If all vendors were not secured with 5 months to go, now is the time to ensure all vendors are crossed off the list.

We recommend that you:

  • Purchase Your Gown and The Grooms Tux
  • Select Wedding Party Attire
  • Book The Officiant
  • Book The Photographer
  • Book The Florist
  • Book Entertainment
  • Reserve The Hotel For Out of Town Guests
  • Consider Decor Needs
  • Book Any Rentals
  • Research and Select The Cake
  • Meet With Venue 
  • Book The Honeymoon
  • Research and Book Transportation
  • Research and Book Wedding Hair & Make-Up
  • Book Rehearsal Venue 
  • Receive Stationary
  • Plan Wedding Activities (Bridal Shower, Bachelorette Party)
  • Start Assembling & Mailing Invitations

 

3 Months Before: The Final Stretch

As the day of approaches, it’s important to cross off the little details. 

We recommend that you:

  • Have Your Hair and Make-Up Trial
  • Start DIY projects
  • Select & Purchase Bridal Accessories and Grooms Accessories
  • Select & Purchase Bridesmaid Accessories and Groomsmen Accessories
  • Determine Wedding Party Hair & Make-Up
  • Research Wedding Traditions
  • Choose Music Playlist
  • Select & Purchase Guest Favors
  • Select & Purchase Wedding Party Favors
  • Research Readings
  • List Toasts
  • Begin Drafting Ceremony & Reception Timeline

 

2 Months Before: The Countdown

Now that you are down to the final weeks, it’s time to square away final details before the true countdown begins. 

We recommend that you:

  • Begin Creating The Day of Timeline With Vendors
  • Begin Delegating Tasks
  • Begin Creating The Seating Chart
  • Create The Welcome Kit For Out Of Town Guests
  • First Gown Fitting
  • Wedding Party Attire Fitting
  • Have The Bridal Shower
  • Purchase Engagement Rings

 

1 Month Before: The Final Stretch

The big day is now weeks away.  Attempt to fulfill remaining tasks the final 3 weeks before the big day to allow time to relax the week of the wedding.

We recommend that you:

  • Final Gown Fitting
  • Begin Beauty Regimen
  • Finalize Day of Timeline With Vendors
  • Start Assembling Wedding Guest Favors
  • Confirm Rentals
  • Engrave Engagement Rings
  • Have The Bachelor and Bachelorette Party
  • Secure Legal Documents
  • Send Wedding Party and Vendors Day of Timeline
  • Confirm Hotel Details
  • Follow Up With Out Of Town Guests
  • Receive RSVP’s From Guests
  • Purchase Grooms Gift

For the ultimate guide to plan every step of your wedding like a pro, be sure to grab a copy of our 130 page e-book, Getting Started: The Ultimate Planning Guide!

How To Choose Your Wedding Party

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                                                                             Photography: Lauren Fisher

 

At the start of your journey, begin to consider who you will ask to be a part of your wedding party!

Traditionally, it is recommended to have at least 1 member on each side per 50 guests. Many modern couples are creating their own rules in terms of how many members to have in their wedding party.

Before you begin asking potential wedding party members to take on a role in your day, first consider the responsibilities included:

The Who:

  • The Bridal Party: The Maid of Honor, Matron of Honor, Bridesmaids, Junior Bridesmaids
  • The Groomsmen: The Best Man, The Groomsmen, Junior Groomsmen
  • The Flower Girl and Ring Bearer
  • The Parents: Of The Bride and Groom
  • The Ushers: Typically one for every 50 guests

Roles:

The Bride & Groom:

  • Set and determine the budget
  • Determine the wedding style and vision
  • Select the wedding date
  • Select the wedding venue
  • Determine the wedding vendors
  • Determine the wedding decor
  • Determine the wedding attire
  • Create the wedding registry
  • Determine the honeymoon destination
  • Select the designated number of wedding guests
  • Select the wedding party

Parents:

  • Host the engagement party
  • Select a designated number distributed by the couple towards the guest list
  • Determine the financial percentage to contribute
  • Walk down the processional and recessional.

The Maid of Honor / Matron of Honor / Best Man:

  • Coordinate wedding activities such as the bridal shower and bachelorette party
  • Attend fittings
  • Assists bride and groom with errands and tasks
  • Helps on the day of with attire, holding the bouquet, signing the license, toasting
  • Point person for the rest of the wedding party

Bridesmaids / Groomsmen:

  • Assists maid of honor and bride with wedding tasks
  • Helps to plan the wedding shower and bachelorette party
  • Pays for own wedding day attire
  • Pays for lodging, transportation, and beauty
  • Walks in processional and recessional. The Maid and Matron of Honor typically walk down after all bridesmaids have made it to the alter, and the Best Man after all groomsmen have made it to the alter
  • Keeps the wedding party festive
  • Keeps bride and groom calm

Junior Bridesmaid / Groomsmen:

  • Typically between the ages of 9-13, may also be up to age 16
  • Does not attend bachelorette or bachelor party
  • Not financially responsible for same tasks as bridesmaids and groomsmen
  • Parents pay for wedding day attire

The Flower Girl / Ring Bearer:

  • Typically age 3 and up to age 8 but can vary.
  • The Flower Girl walks down the processional just before the bride and after the bridesmaids
  • The Ring Bearer walks down the processional typically just after or along with the flower girls
  • Parents pay for wedding day attire

neilboydphotography

 

                                                                                     Photography: Neil Boyd

 

How To Choose Your Wedding Party:

Now that you know the roles of the wedding party, consider these questions to consider when selecting:

  • How Long You’ve Been Friends:

The first question that you should consider when selecting your wedding party is the length of time that you have been friends. You may decide to set rules such as friends that have been in your life for at least 2 years or that you are confident will still be in your life 5, 10, even 15 years down the line.  If you are not confident that your relationship will be the same a few years down the line, consider if there are other roles they can take on such as hosts. 

  • How Supportive They Are of Your Union:

Are you likely to call the possible wedding party member for support or even to spend time at gatherings with family and friends? Consider how likely the wedding party member will be in terms of supporting not only your wedding planning but your relationship well after the big day.

  • Are They Wedding Party Material? 

What can they assist with? How supportive would they be in terms of lending a hand? Are they likely to be a team player and bring a good time or potential drama? Consider if being a part of the big day is possible due their current situation. If changing careers, expecting, finishing a degree, in between work or even planning their own big day, consider if they are likely to handle the responsibility. Before counting out, be sure to discuss first as they may make a point to take part regardless of their own obligations. 

  • How Will They Mesh? 

If wedding party members don’t know each other, consider having a small gathering prior to inviting your party to make note of how the potential members interact. While they may forge a friendship during the process, consider if any members have a history of conflict or drama before extending an invite. 

  • What Is The Relation?

Work with your fiance to consider any rules to follow when selecting members. You may decide to stick with family members only or split between family and friends. You may notice that you’ve mutually considered inviting wedding party members that hold similar relationships, such as primarily family or a mix of family and closest friends, making it easier to set clear rules. 

  • Would Not Inviting Cause Tension?

Determine if not being able to ask everyone within a large group of friends would create tension. You may find that attempting to include everyone you would like to have in your wedding party results in exceeding your goal wedding party size. Avoid by considering if there are any other roles they can play such as serving as an usher, host, or even giving a special reading during the ceremony.

  • Has It Been A Solid Friendship?

Unfortunately, rocky friendships can happen to the best of us. If you have a potential wedding party member that has been an up and down friendship, consider how you see the friendship years to come. If you aren’t confident things will remain solid for the long haul, consider asking to host or finding another role for the day.

  • How Many Wedding Party Members Can You Afford To Invite?

Wedding party members are responsible for their own expenses, such as for their attire, airfare, and lodging. While the wedding party covers most of their own expenses, the couple will still take on costs for the wedding party such as flowers, transportation to the venue and even gifts for playing a role in their day. For budget-conscious weddings, consider keeping small wedding party of 1-3 members on each side. For formal weddings with a more flexible budget, consider having 6-10 members on each side.

Getting Started Series: The 20 Biggest Regrets Every Bride Wants You To Know!

 

If there is one thing you don’t get after your big day, it’s a do-over. While we stand by the belief that as long as you ended your day married to your dream guy then it was an absolutely perfect day, we understand the hope that it will be everything you imagined that it would be.

Take advantage of learning the top 20 regrets past brides wish they could do over as you plan your big day:

 

  • Bride Regret: Not hiring a wedding planner or day of coordinator:

Brides wished there was a professional on hand to take charge when unexpected issues arise as well as to properly plan and execute their vision.

HOW TO AVOID:

A popular and risky alternative to hiring a pro to delegate the day is to hand off to a friend or family member. While this certainly can be an excellent choice if that family or friend has experience in planning large-scale events, consider the potential that an emergency occurs that requires the fast thinking of a trained professional. Think back to the financial investment made towards your big day. The last thing you want is to not have full confidence your day will be executed to perfection. While a hiccup or two can occur with even the most seasoned wedding professional, they will know how to quickly resolve due to their wealth of experience. If a full on wedding planner is out of budget then consider a day of coordinator to take on key details such as your wedding timeline and day of execution at a fraction of the cost of a full planner.

 

  • Bride Regret: Letting others input influence decisions over their own:

Brides regretted attempting to make everyone else happy and putting what they really wanted aside to please everyone else. In the end, they looked back and felt aspects of the day didn’t fit their style or vision.

HOW TO AVOID:

A trick to hold onto what matters most while incorporating the suggestions and advice of others is to keep your list of wedding must-haves secret and only ask for input from details at the bottom of your list. If you aren’t too excited about selecting the cake, ask if a family member that is insistent on providing input if they can join you for cake tasting to help you narrow down your dream cake. They don’t have to know that cakes are on the bottom of your list of wedding details and will be happy to have their opinion count. If they attempt to inject their input on any items from the top of your must-have list, explain that you would like to make the final decision. Mention that there are a few details on your list that you are most excited about selecting but you certainly have a lot of other details their help could be utilized for.

 

  • Bride Regret: A DJ that didn’t fit their crowd:

Brides regretted not working with a DJ that could keep guests entertained with music that fit the crowd, as well as hiring a DJ with a style that simply wasn’t the best fit.

HOW TO AVOID:

Be sure to ask the DJ for audio from past weddings. Provide your DJ with a playlist of song choices that you think paints the picture for the style of music your guests will enjoy. Ask if they have a playlist or audio from a past wedding that featured similar music to ensure their style of mixing will fit your crowd.

 

  • Bride Regret:  Skimming on decor:

Brides regretted skimming on decor, especially if left with minimal or skimpy centerpieces that were underwhelming.

HOW TO AVOID:

Prior to your wedding day, have your florist provide a mock table layout to ensure that you are satisfied with the outcome in order to edit as needed. If your florist is unable to recreate, ask to see a portfolio of past work to ensure that you can point out arrangements that fit your style and budget.

 

  • Bride Regret:  Skimming on food:

Brides regretted having sub-par food choices or a lack food available. 

HOW TO AVOID:

Ask if the same chef used during menu tastings will also be the chef catering your wedding day. Bring along someone else for tastings to get a second opinion on food choices and seasonings.   If your budget is tight and you are concerned with the amount of food you can supply, ask your caterer if changing your serving style or menu options can possibly increase the amount of food available without increasing in price.

 

  • Bride Regret:  Their gown:

Brides looked back and wished that they went with another gown option, or one that better fit their personality.

HOW TO AVOID:

Be sure to take lots of captures in your gown before saying yes to the dress. Ask if you can sleep on it to ensure that you are completely happy with your choice if not 100% certain your gown is the one.

 

  • Bride Regret: Not hiring a more qualified photographer:

This is across the board the #1 bridal regret. Brides regretted not investing in a more experienced photographer due to poor quality images or having key moments missed. 

HOW TO AVOID:

Consider that of all the wedding details that you will invest in, your photos will be the one lasting memory. Avoid skimming by remembering that your photos will last a lifetime! If photographers that you would love to work with are out of budget, reach out to ask if they could recommend photographers with a similar style that are starting out. Mention that you would love to work with them but they are unfortunately out of budget. They may even suggest ways that bring their rate down such as cutting a photo-book and prints from your packaging.

 

  • Bride Regret:  Forgetting the meaning of the day:

Brides regretted being so focused on planning that they forgot to simply enjoy the process and the fact they are marrying the love of their life!

HOW TO AVOID:

Make a point to spend time attending wedding shows for a little pre-wedding fun! Be sure to have regular date nights with your fiancé for non-wedding related time together to enjoy time together that isn’t related to planning.  

 

  • Bride Regret:  Too much distance between the ceremony and reception:

Brides regretted not booking the ceremony and reception spaces together due to the time required to commute between spaces.

HOW TO AVOID:

Seek one stop shop venue spaces where the ceremony and reception spaces are shared! If you are unable to find shared spaces, attempt to seek ceremony and venue spaces within a short distance of one another.

 

  • Bride Regret:  Lack of personality incorporated into the day:

Brides regretted that their day lacked features that represented the bride and groom’s personality and style.

HOW TO AVOID:

Avoid the urge to recreate ideas seen at other weddings by adding your own spin. Incorporate favorite colors, flowers and even favorite things to do as a couple to add your own take on wedding ideas. Use ideas as inspiration only and avoid full recreation without making any changes.

 

  • Bride Regret:  Inviting guests out of guilt:

Brides regretted inviting guests out of guilt, especially if the guest was a no show, did not actively participate in the wedding day or have not spoken to the couple post wedding. Brides wished that they instead focused on inviting close friends and family only.

HOW TO AVOID:

Create and stick with rules when it comes to inviting guests. Start with guests that you can’t imagine not having at your big day. Ask yourself when inviting guests if you are likely to have the same relationship in 2 years? 3 years? 5 years? If you aren’t so certain, consider holding off on the invite until you are confident in your decision to include in your day.

  

  • Bride Regret:  Not planning to go over budget:

Brides regretted either not having a budget, or not planning to exceed their budget. They found that having a cushion could have prevented them from a last minute scramble to accumulate funds for extra expenses.

HOW TO AVOID:

Set a cushion to your wedding budget for the event of an emergency. A safe cushion is to set aside an additional 5% to your budget. For instance, if your budget is $20,000, we recommend that you budget for an additional $1,000 for any emergencies or unexpected purchases.   

  

  • Bride Regret: Members of their wedding party:

Brides regretted choosing wedding party members for the wrong reasons. Looking back, they would have had smaller parties or only longtime friends and family.

HOW TO AVOID:

Before inviting to take part in the wedding, consider if you would still present the opportunity in one year, three years or even 5 years. If you are not fully confident they would still make the cut, consider if there are others roles they can take on. 

 

  • Bride Regret:  Not locking in the venue first:

Brides regretted not booking the venue first after realizing that top choices were booked well in advance or how many important details couldn’t be finalized until the venue was selected.

HOW TO AVOID:

Make searching for the venue the first wedding task that you research and lock in. Your venue will determine your wedding date, guest count size, and account for almost half of your wedding budget. Focus on the venue space first before moving onto additional tasks on your wedding checklist. 

 

  • Bride Regret: Not properly scheduling the day of:

Brides regretted not having a schedule for the wedding day or a designating a point person to handle emergencies.  

HOW TO AVOID:

Your wedding day is one of the largest events, if not the largest event, that you will plan. Unless you have experience in event planning or wedding planning, enlist the help of a professional, trusted family member or friend with experience to successfully execute your day.  Be sure to also consider emergencies to plan for backups based on the location of your day. For instance, if your wedding will take part outdoors, be sure to have a backup plan in place in the event of inclement weather. 

 

 

  • Bride Regret:  Not having a save the date announcement:

Brides regretted not giving advance notice of their wedding prior to the formal invitation to ensure that guests schedules were free in advance.

HOW TO AVOID:

Be sure to provide a save the date to guests at least 6-8 months prior to the big day if having a destination wedding or 4-6 months in advance if having a local wedding to ensure the day is reserved.

 

 

  • Bride Regret:  Hiring a friend to avoid going with a professional:

Brides regretted hiring a friend with little experience in weddings over a wedding professional. Learned the hard way that professional skills do not fully translate to the demands of a wedding. 

HOW TO AVOID:

There is nothing wrong with giving a friend starting out in the wedding industry a chance for your day, but we strongly advise against simply seeking to hire a friend to avoid having to pay for the work of a professional if they have little background in weddings. Just because a friend is familiar with using a camera or has set decorated a few birthday parties in the past does not mean they are the right choice to take on a full-scale event like a wedding.  One of the many benefits of hiring a wedding professional is that they are familiar with understanding what to avoid, prepare for and prevent to execute in a way that a non-wedding professional may be unfamiliar with. 

 

  • Bride Regret: Their hair or makeup:

Brides regretted trying out a new look on their wedding day that they didn’t test out in advance or going with a trendy style opposed to a look that stands the test of time.

HOW TO AVOID:

If you are known to frequently change up your look or try new styles, going with a fun look for your wedding would be true to what guests would expect and even look forward to. If you are naturally more classic, traditional or have a signature style, your wedding may not be the time to veer towards a new look.  We recommend going with a natural, timeless look or style that stands the test of time. Adding small touches that are current trends may not be as regrettable as an incredibly trendy look that may look dated soon after your wedding.  Be sure to have a trial to test out your make-up and hair to ensure that you are happy with the outcome and have plenty of time to change if needed.

 

 

  • Bride Regret:  Hiring the most expensive vendor:

Regretted assuming that cost translates to the value of work. 

HOW TO AVOID:

Expensive doesn’t always translate to the best of the best. Be sure to spend time reading reviews and viewing past work of vendors before locking them in. Don’t be afraid to ask your vendor 

 

 

  • Bride Regret:  Not reading their vendor contracts:

Brides regretted not taking the time to review their vendor contracts before signing.

HOW TO AVOID:

Before signing any contract, take the time to review. Make note of any questions that you have or portions of the contract that are unclear.  Avoid unexpected fees by reviewing your contract for any additional fees, potential fines or service charges.   

 

 

With so many decisions to make, we have created the ultimate tool for planning brides to use as their weapon to avoid mistakes that brides commonly make. We have taken the time to break down every planning step from engagement to the big day with advice on decisions that you will make. Available for a limited time, grab your copy of our 130+ page e-book, Getting Started: The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide today!